It’s around 5.30 am on a Sunday, and the sun is still behind the concrete jungle that is the Garden City. But mountain bikers Shashankh CK and Hugo de Souza are up and about. They are enroute to their mountain biking trail to feel an adrenaline rush and one with nature. They are a part of a growing family of mountain bikers in the city who are exploring Turahalli Forest, Avalahalli Forest, Hessarghatta, Whitefield, Nandi Hills and Hennur trails to get their piece of biking on rugged terrain and ride into the lush green forest on an adventure like no other. And it’s become a part of their lives as it’s accessible and does not cost too much.
Many biking spaces opine that the incidence of this form of sport has increased since it’s easier to go to the outskirts and explore the hinterland, “Our mountain bike sales have been on a rise and many people prefer mountain biking as this gives them an adrenaline rush while also getting them close to nature,” says Prem Kanth, from BOTS (Bums on the saddle) who believes that the craze is now starting to become a way of life.
“The feeling of mountain biking is equivalent to a bird being let out of its cage, I most often bike at Turahalli Forest, an urban forest off Kanakpura Road. I also ride the trails at Avalahalli Forest (Yelahanka) and the Hennur Quarries” adds enthusiast, Hugo De Souza, a research assistant at Indian Institute of Science. While the MTB terrain varies in difficulty — dirt roads and fire tracks in varied categories like cross country, downhill and all mountain terrains, these bikers use different rides for each one of them.
And the ladies are also thrilling in it. Chinta Sidharthan, a project assistant at Indian Institute of Science feels that there many female mountain bikers who want to explore the hidden trails and finds it easy to handle the bike after learning the basics. “I’ve always loved the outdoors and wildlife. I love the feeling of the wind on my face, the ache in the muscles as I pump uphill and these trails let me experience both,” says Chinta.
Cold mornings and a journey of 20 km doesn’t stop riders like Archana Sheshagiri, from BOTS, she says, “It is loads of fun; I still cherish that first trail ride of mine. I’d rank it second on the list of crazy things that I’ve done. I was totally amazed at the route, especially the woods section.”
Safety is a priority and bikers usually carry first-aid kits and lots of water. The helmet is considered to be one of the most important safety gears for these riders. “Riding past woods or off a steep hill is thrilling and helps you to connect with your bike and nature. The experience of mountain biking is harder to explain in words, it’s easier to understand when done,” says Shashankh CK.